Diary of Marriage: Why Can’t Men Close Cabinet Doors?

Bizarre habits of the male gender, and why it’s okay to vent about them to your friends.

There are, at any given time, at least three stacks of J.’s clothes in our bedroom — one in the corner, another by his bureau, one more by his nightstand — all incredibly close to his drawers, just not in them. He can’t put these clothes away, he argues, because he’s worn them already, so they’re not technically clean, and thereby undeserving of a spot in the closet. However, since he’s only worn said clothing once or twice, they’re also not dirty (“I’m wearing them again soon,” he promises), so they can’t be tossed in the hamper. And so we exist amidst his “piles,” as we call them, our bedroom a minefield of teetering mini-mountains of t-shirts and jeans, a weird clothing purgatory.

I don’t understand his bizarre fear of cross-clothing contamination but, most of the time, I can live with it. Still, if I’m having a bad day and searching for something to be angry about, I go straight to the piles: “Oh my God, oh my God, just Hang. Them. Up.” This week, I had a particularly bad day so, naturally, I angrily imagined tossing his stupid piles out the window. I wondered if I was being unreasonable, so I did what all females do, for better or worse: I consulted my go-to marriage therapists, my girlfriends.

The email chain began with my blabbering description of J.’s annoying pile habit, and ended with a plea that basically went like this: “Please tell me I’m not crazy and that your husband’s weird habits sometimes drive you nuts.” Because, really, when you’re at the end of your marital rope, all you want is to know you’re not alone. And, ladies, we’re not alone.

My email set off a rash of complaints, the kind of unleashing that guys would classify as “bitching,” but ladies refer to as more of a healthy “sharing.” One of my friends counted the number of items of her husband’s clothing that had accumulated on their guest bed: Five sweatshirts, three coats, and an uncountable mass of hats. “Like, can we do something with this crap?” she lamented.

Another shared her feelings on her husband’s wardrobe: “We got neon yellow t-shirts for our softball league and there were a few extras. He decided to keep the extras and add them into his rotation. So now he wears the same damn ugly neon yellow t-shirt all the time.”

A common grievance was the inexplicable inability of men to close cabinets and drawers: “If he opens his sock drawer, he only pushes it back in a little, never all the way. It drives me crazy.”

“I feel your pain,” another friend responded. “I don’t understand what is so difficult with the concept of opening the cabinet, taking the item you need, and then closing the cabinet.”

It’s probably frowned upon to complain about your significant other, especially when the complaints are as petty as ours. But at the end of our email chain, someone wrote: “Good to know that I’m not alone!” Sometimes, that’s all you need — just a little reassurance that every couple has issues, as big as infidelity or as small as leaving the kitchen cabinets open.

PS: J., if you’re reading this, I can deal with the piles, but if you don’t hang up that heap of your pants on our guest room bed, I will scream.

Your turn: What annoying habits does your significant other have that, though trivial, drive you crazy?

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